Saturday, January 19, 2013

Unexpected attraction

I find it really amazing what some people find attractive and others do not. Is it a pleasant cologne? Sideburns? A loquacious vocabulary? Maybe that's just me...Perhaps for you it's eye color or height. Maybe something more carnal? I'm not judging.
I actually did a little bit of research on this and discovered the science of attraction is quite complicated (obviously) and quite interesting. If you want to break it down to it's basest form of what causes attraction, look no further than evolution and good ole hormones.
Survival of the fittest: it's as simple as that. A female chooses the stronger, healthier, more attractive male in order to perpetuate the species. His phenotype is a direct reflection of his genetic fitness, and therefore alerts the female to his superiority that will thus be passed on to her offspring. Classic examples include larger antlers in deer and colorful plumage in birds. These are characteristics of a healthy individual, thus the female will be more attracted to these traits, as well as males that display housebuilding abilities, care giving qualities, and physical prowess. The evolution of attraction correlates with desirable genetic traits to be duplicated.
We can't rule out these gems when discussing attraction. There are three stages of attraction dictated by hormones beginning with lust. Ah, lust, and it's wonderful friends testosterone and estrogen. Without lust, there would be no random, passionate encounters or loving trysts. And when these brief interludes continue, we move onto phase two: attraction. When you can think of no one else, you are on the dopamine express. Yes, that lovely hormone that gives us pleasant feelings, and it's buddy adrenaline that increases our heart rate and makes our mouths dry. That's when you know you're headed for the charm: attachment. The hormones associated with attachment include oxytocin (AKA the "love hormone) and it's partner in crime, vassopressin. Together these hormones will evoke feelings of contentment, lower anxiety, and increase calmness and security. This is the touchy-feely stage of attraction, leading to pair bonds, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. You know, the good stuff.

That's the nitty gritty, but how does one get this far? Where does attraction all begin and why? Johns Hopkins sexologist (yes, it's a real job. I looked it up) John Money developed the concept of the "lovemap" to assist a discussion of why people prefer certain attributes. It is, "a developmental representation or template in the mind and in the brain depicting the idealized lover." Picture your perfect partner: height, weight, job, values, smell, etc. Got it? That's essentially what he's talking about. Money goes on to state that this is a nature and nurture trait; that we learn what we like as well as draw on our genetic background. What we prefer involves all five senses that are often linked to personal experiences. Grandpa smoked a pipe? You may be attracted to the smell of tobacco. Dad tall, dark, and brooding? Guess what! Live near a lake? Blue eyes may be your thing. All the pleasurable experiences spark what you may find attractive in another individual. But what about those random oddities that leave you wondering, "who knew that was so hot?"

Which brings me to the point on this rambling diatribe. This all may seem nonsensical, but this is how my mind was working when I was trying to figure out why I suddenly found something so ordinary and maybe somewhat odd so freaking attractive. Here's what I'm talking about:

Sooo hot, right? RIGHT?!

A newsboy hat and bow tie? Who knew? I am not a huge fan of Newsies, my grandfather wore neither of these items, and I'm not into Dr. Who. Little help? 

Oh, I know! *slaps forehead* Maybe it's because they are being worn by Daniel Vincent Gordh, who is playing William Darcy on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and who also happens to be tall, dark, and handsome. With sideburns. And don't even get me started on those eyebrows...*drool* 

And here is where a little nature comes into play. Maybe I was destined to find this combination strangely attractive. All I needed was a handsome man to show me the way. It also helps that he's so loquacious and stars in a modern adaptation of my favorite novel. Yes, all things come back to Pride and Prejudice. And perhaps that is the core of why I find the newsboy hat/bow tie combo so attractive: I am a nerd.

The moral of this story? We all have our own "lovemap" to follow. Don't be afraid or ashamed of it (unless it's illegal), and for the love of God don't be like me and over analyze. Just get out there, buy your man a newsie hat and bow tie, and get on with your life! It will be a lot happier once you do ;) 

No comments:

Post a Comment